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Expert Opinion Hydroxyurea Could Prevent Strokes for People With Sickle Cell Disease in Lieu of Transfusions During COVID-19 Blood Supply Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to cause a blood supply shortage in the United States, and as a result, clinicians may be compelled to ration or conserve blood products. For people living with sickle cell disease (SCD), blood transfusions are often necessary to decrease the frequency of severe symptoms.

In a new Blood paper, Michael R. DeBaun, MD, MPH, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt-Meharry Sickle Cell Disease Center of Excellence, suggests that while monthly blood transfusions are the standard method of stroke prevention for children with SCD and at high risk of strokes, initiation of hydroxyurea therapy may be an effective alternative, if the monthly blood transfusions are interrupted.